SA Mines and Energy Journal : Dec09-Jan10
DECEMBER 2009/JANUARY 2010 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL 14 FEATURE Mick Wilkes, Prominent Hill's General Manager, says the Department of Defence can ask miners to evacuate an area for a short time. "This is unlikey to affect Prominent Hill operations, "he says. "OZ Minerals enjoys a strong relationship with the Department of Defence and liaises regularly with it on issues relating to co-existence within the WPA. " Jason Kuchel, Chief Executive of the South Australian Chamber of Mines & Energy, says these access requirements are likely to be critical in some of the WPA's more sensitive areas. "A few mining companies in the north of Canada have restricted access for months each year due to weather, indicating mining activities may not be as incompatible with defence activities as some might think, " he says. "We believe some mining projects can meet the most stringent Department of Defence requirements. " Dominion Mining's Challenger goldmine has been operating since 2002. Jonathan Shellabear, the company's Managing Director, says it enjoys a good relationship with the Defence Department and has never had any problems with the conditions under which Challenger operates. Nor does it expect to. He believes effective communication between all parties involved is the answer. However, Barrick Gold, a prospective miner in the WPA region, tells a different story. Recently denied access to tenements around Olympic Dam, Serena Goldsmith, Project Manager for the company's SA projects, has called for greater clarity about which areas are accessible and when. There needs to be more communication between the state and federal governments, she says. "It's all well and good for the SA Government to grant tenements, but you can't necessarily access them. " Her comments highlight the process for mining applications. First, miners apply to the State Government for an exploration licence. To access areas within the WPA, they must also sign a Deed of Exploration with the Federal Defence Department. Granting of the SA exploration licence does not guarantee access to the land. "Miners are still liable for tenement costs, such as rent and minimum expenditure commitments costs, even though they can't access the land, " Ms Goldsmith says Public servants say clear- cut policies are difficult to formulate because of the In the WPA there are more than 120 active exploration leases Coober Pedy Hawks Nest Roxby Downs Woomera WOOMERA PROHIBITED AREA Andamooka Challenger Mine Olympic Dam Mine Prominent Hill Mine Coober Pedy Hawks Nest Roxby Downs Woomera WOOMERA PROHIBITED AREA Andamooka Challenger Mine Olympic Dam Mine Prominent Hill Mine Woomera Prohibited Area Gawler Craton Operating mines Emerging projects SA Minister for Mineral Resources Development Paul Holloway.